This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
( great restaurants )


Bailbrook House


Georgian architecture makes for gloomy, cramped basement restaurants, right? Not so, says LAURA ROWE


WHEN YOU LIVE in the city for any period of time, it becomes very easy to forget the concept


of real space – the sort where kitchens aren’t ‘galley’ and bedrooms aren’t ‘bijou’, simply because they don’t have to be. Take Bath, for instance, where the dark basements of Georgian town houses are where most restaurants can be found. Sure, we can put a positive spin on it – call them ‘intimate’ and ‘romantic’ – but more often than not what we really mean is ‘cramped’ and ‘poorly lit’. This being the case, the newly refurbished Bailbrook


House, at London Road West on the outskirts of town, very much bucks the trend. It’s vast – a Grade-II-listed Georgian manor house, which, thanks to a £10 million refurb by new owners Handpicked Hotels in June, is now a sparkling hotel with 94 rooms and two restaurants. It’s a tale of two halves: the majority of the hotel’s facilities are to be found in the modern annexe, Bailbrook Court, which has some of the best conference facilities in Bath – its largest function room, The Brunel Suite, can cater for up to 160 – and a more casual restaurant too, called Lansdown Brasserie. The manor house proper, though, is what’s truly


special here. Lounges, filled with sink-into armchairs and cavernous fireplaces, look out over the Avon Valley and the 20 acres of private grounds. There are 13 magnificent suites here, with the grandest beds, deepest baths and showers so big that they almost invite a scandal… But now an admission: yes, the house’s main fine


dining restaurant, Cloisters, actually is located in the cellar. But, as an experience, it’s miles away from the dank basements referenced above – instead, this is a large open space, with intricate golden Bath stone ceilings, lights modelled on those seen in Warwick Castle, and tall windows framed by creeping wisteria. Even better, tables are spaced well apart, meaning you don’t have to enjoy your meal in hushed tones. At the moment the restaurant is only open in the


evenings, 7-9.30pm, and for Sunday lunch from 12.30- 2pm, though upstairs you can also indulge in all manner of afternoon teas. It’s definitely worth coming here in the daytime, just to make the most of those bucolic views – and all only five minutes from the bustling city centre.


70


The menu has been created by head chef Peter


Manners, who takes his inspiration from the surroundings – his meat comes from Bartlett Butchers and veggies from Lovejoys in Melksham, where the majority of their growers are within a 10 mile radius. There’s a three-course table d’hote menu for £36, with more than a few interesting dishes; how does five-spiced fillet of Scottish salmon with wok vegetables and noodles, star anise and orange cream sound? Or roasted butternut squash with a thyme and ginger brûlée, herb cheese crumble and toasted tomato bread? We opted for the a la carte though. Seared Cornish scallops (£10) bathed luxuriously in a heady, cream bisque, muddy coral in colour and seaside in flavour. Lurking beneath the rock-like scallops, two crab ravioli were just as perfect – soft, silky pasta protecting pockets of fresh, clean white crab meat. A colourful baked pumpkin and Capricorn cheesecake (£8) was sweet and savoury and had a hit of spice from a pokey pumpkin jam. The portions are delicate and just enough to satisfy. Sous chef Matt Brookes was in charge of the kitchen


during our visit and his attention to detail, as displayed by the precise cooking of our Welsh coast sea bass (£27), was exemplary. The crisp skin gave way to succulent flakes, which soaked up the elegant clam and mussel butter sauce below. Creamed potatoes and spinach rounded it off, although a trendy smidge of something sweet (apricot purée, perhaps?) was unexpected and unnecessary.


The fillet of Lackham Farm beef (£35) was mighty and


✱ CLOISTERS RESTAURANT at Bailbrook House, Eveleigh Avenue, London Road West, Bath BA17JD; 01225 855100; www.bailbrookhouse.co.uk


again expertly cooked ‘medium rare’, as recommended by the kitchen. A wild mushroom and truffle confit was sticky and earthy – it tasted like all of the best bits from a roasting pan had been scraped up and spooned on top. A potato rosti and roasted veggies (a rich colour palette of swede, turnip, carrot and cherry


tomatoes) made up the rest of the plate, along with an intense Tawny Port wine jus. Little was muttered between me and fellow snaffle maiden Soph as we tucked into our puds – they were that good. My Somerset pear tart tatin (£9) was buttery and sweet, uncomplicated by the usual spice: all it needed was its simple swirl of sticky caramel and some very naughty Cornish clotted cream ice cream. Soph’s parfait (£9) proved that chocolate and bananas go together like cookies and cream – the parfait delivering a smooth bitter cocoa hit, the glazed bananas tingling with the gentle sweet heat of cinnamon. Delish. This restaurant might be off your Bath dining radar


thanks to its out-of-town location, but for classical fine dining, a striking location and room enough to swing an aristocat, Bailbrook House is more than worth the journey.


crumbsmag.com


Afters


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76